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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Academy Award® Nominee
A dangerous mass murderer has escaped from the prison fortress of Azkaban, and Harry is his likely next target.

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson...  View more >

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Reviews Summary

Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

Jun 4, 2004
I wasn't as overwhelmed with this film as the press releases and public relations firm wanted me to be. Granted, there is immense difficulty in condensing a tomb the size of "Prisoner" into a 2 hour movie. The brevity and absence of scenes was unavoidable. However, this might be all the more reason to try to hold other anchor points as constant.

I think the director, in an effort to "start over with a new vision" took many steps that will alienate the faithful HP fan. Why the need to change Hagrid's cabin? Why the need to alter the set-back angles for the castle interior shots? Most of all, why the steadfast insistence to strip the characters of their fantasy shroud by putting them in street clothes? I don't expect to see Bilbo in a sweatshirt and jeans. I don't expect to see Williow in a Nike sweatsuit. Why rob the aura of the mystical persona. This isn't SpyKids, it is mystical fantasy.

I won't see it again at the theatre and I really don't know if I will buy the DVD.
Jun 4, 2004
I don't know anything about "anchor points", and I don't think I could have directed it better in fewer steps , but I do know I liked the film.

I am not trying to live out a fantasy life as a movie critic, or know enough to correct a directors misteaks. I just know if the popcorn is good and if I feel I got my bucks worth of entertainment, it's all that counts.
Jun 5, 2004
My biggest problem with the first two "Potter" movies was their ridiculous faithfulness to the books. It wasn't so much that their wasn't much for origininality; as far as I'm concerned Rowling's books have more than enough originality to go around. It was the fact that the books are written in chapters, each of which has a very distinct event. The result was that movies felt as though they were written in chapters; they seemed very segmented and not very cohesive.

This third movie puts all that to rest. "Prisoner of Azkaban" feels like a movie and not a televised book. The story is also a lot darker this time around, but also quieter; this movie has far less spectacle than the other two and it's much more character-driven. This means that the younger Potter fans may squirm a bit in their seats during the somewhat drawn-out conversations about Harry's parents, etc.

In terms of summer movie magic, this movie has plenty of special effects, and they are easily the best in the "Harry Potter" movies yet. Buckbeak the Hippogriff, in particular, looked stunning.

All in all, what we have here is a step up for an already great series of movies, and I look forward more than ever to the fourth adaptation. ***1/2 out of 4.
Jun 6, 2004
This is THE BEST Harry Potter movie so far! Darker in tone, and the effects have improved 150%!!! The cinematography is brilliant and thankfully a brand new score was done by John Williams (not just rehashed music like the last movie).

Any fan of the book with enjoy this movie. Parents, I suggest going with your kids if they are under 12 - there are scary and graphic moments in the movie.
Jun 6, 2004
One of the rare times a movie rivals the book. It was excellent; the special effects were superb, the story moved well, and you were definitely gripped by it. It is a little different in style than the other movies -- it is a bit more gritty and dark, which matches the story. Our entire group agreed: the best Harry Potter yet.
Jun 8, 2004
Harry, You done It Again! The third film in the series has left me with a smile on my face. Despite a new director and a dark vision, the series has not missed a beat. Every scene, every emotion is first rate. Gary Oldman gave a great performance. Watching him gave 110% is a joy.

Harry Potter is the reason why we go to the movies. Harry Potter is the reason that a lot of kids are reading the books. 2 1/2 hours of pure fun that is right on! The next Potter movie wont come out until November 2005. Already, I looking forward in going back to Hogwarth.
Jun 9, 2004
Jun 10, 2004
It was horrible:( It just was terrible i can't explain it.
Jun 10, 2004
I am not a Harry Potter fan in general, but my son and I enjoyed the movie.
Jun 10, 2004
Just as good as the last two, maybe even better.
Jun 10, 2004
It was good - the time went by so quickly! Kept your interest, Ron was funny in a dumb sort of way. The new animal was very cool! I want one! See it, it's good.
Jun 11, 2004
I found this movie to be much more watchable than the other two. You can definitely tell that the focus has become to make a good movie, not just include every detail from the books. I hadn't read the book for a while before hand, which helped because I didn't remember as many of the omissions. The street clothes did annoy me a bit, and is it just me or was the attic classroom a lot smaller than that? But I do recommend the movie to all!
Jun 11, 2004
It was a LONG movie. I didn't enjoy this movie as much as the other two, but the effects in the movie were pretty cool! If you haven't read the book, some parts of the movie will be hard to follow. I respect the part that this movie doesn't exactly come from the book.

I can't wait for the next movie to come out in November 2005. I will most likely be owning this movie when it comes out.(This is a 14 year olds opinion of the movie, not a parent or adult's view)
Jun 13, 2004
Fun, enjoyable movie.
Jun 15, 2004
Better then thr first two. They kept all the basic plot points of the book and put them together in a way that makes a good movie.
Jun 18, 2004
I do not know why people are being so critical of this movie. It was great. They may not have gone exactly by the book, but forget that. Just look at the movie. It is much more grown up than the first two. It gets deeper into to Harry and how he is dealing with the death of his family.

No matter what people say, it was a great movie. I agree that Chris Colombus should have stayed as director, even though he was worn out from directing the first two. I can not wait for this movie to come out on DVD.
Jun 19, 2004
Jun 22, 2004
The best of the three! The new director gave a new feel. I agree with previous posters about the street clothes.

The cinematography was excellent. The scene changes were really good. John Williams' score was superb! Listen for the nuances of "Something Wicked This Way Comes" throughout the movie.

Watch the credits at the end. The footprints are hilarious!

My only gripe is the lack of explanation of the Maurader's Map and who the author's were. Book fans will understand.

We're going to go see it again!
Jun 22, 2004
Definitely the best so far, but for me it’s because of the acting of the principal characters not solely for the direction or the production values which were also both excellent. The young cast has matured nicely and this is shown in their much stronger performances than in the first two installments.

I don’t know about it being better because the Director made it ‘darker’ as the books get a little more sinister at this stage anyway which should, and has been, reflected in the movie. It will be interesting to see what a third director will do with the franchise when making the fourth one.

Any disappointments? A few I suppose but only minor ones that I might be pedantic about because I’ve read the books.

Overall a fine film well worth watching and collecting.

Jul 3, 2004
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ensnares each viewer into a world of magic. It is the best Harry Potter film yet seeing as the plot moves quicker and it follows not so closely to the books, but closely to a good format for a movie.
Jul 21, 2004
CRAP! CRAP! MEGACRAP! go see dodgeball or spiderman instead! this movie sucked, they skipped from scene to scene and the ending sucked, everything was flipped around and differed from the book, they dont even play quidditch...... IT SUCKS! i give it a .5/100 because the book itself is very good
Jul 26, 2004
I fell asleep as this movie plodded on and on and on! It felt like I was seeing two or three movies at once too. The plot just got lost somewhere in one of the movies! Dressing the main characters in modern clothing was unbelievable! The only redeeming factor was some of the scenery shown. It was beautiful. However if I wanted to see a travelog, I could have stayed home and watched the Travel channel.

This movie just didn't cut it as a Harry Potter movie.
Jul 30, 2004
Could have been better if they hadn't left out so many pertinent details.
Jul 31, 2004
Disappointing. I was ready to leave before the halfway point. The change in wardrobe, special effects, scenery, and actors, made the whole movie more "muggle" like. I didn't get lost in the magic and fantasy like in movies 1 & 2.

It was choppy and could have followed the storyline more (I don't think anyone would mind a longer movie if it's worth watching). Please bring back the old director for the next parts (at least get rid of the current one). If not, I won't be in such a rush to watch them.
Aug 14, 2004
This movie is own of my favorite movies! it is GREAT!
Aug 18, 2004
Can't say enough about it!!
Aug 19, 2004
Nov 27, 2004
Very funny!
Jan 9, 2005
Jul 1, 2005
The problem with this movie is that it missed so many events for example, the part where Harry wins the Quidditch Cup for the Griffindor House! I mean, common, it's one of the biggest event of the book and should be for the movie as well!

The graphics were wonderful but I'd have to say that they could've worked on the werewolf's looks.

I'm giving it a 3 1/2 stars but still wait for a rental.

P.S. Read the book first!
Jul 20, 2005
A good continuation of the series, but a little unremarkable.

The tone and style of this installment is very different from the earlier two, most likely a result of the new director at the wheel.

Fans of the series need no reason to see this movie, and if you haven't read the book, it helps if you know someone who has so they can fill in the blanks for you and explain some things that get glossed over.

Worth renting, but not worth owning.
Dec 27, 2007
Excellent!!! Continuing the phenomenal Harry Potter series, nothing in the film is below extraordinary! Another top-notch Potter film.
Oct 13, 2012
Jun 26, 2016
My least favorite Harry Potter film, but respectable because of Alfonso Cuaron's directing.

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